Friday, June 19, 2015

Cretia Jackson

 There are two Boyd family lots near the western terminus of the Middle Ridge;  the lot of James and Peter Boyd marked with a large, simple marble obelisk and the lot of Robert Boyd is marked with a towering and elaborate monument which features a sarcophagus, a winged hourglass, and heavy lions' feet. 

In the latter lot, in the shadow of that elaborate memorial, there is a marble headstone with the following inscription:

Cretia Jackson died April 4, 1855.  For more than fifty years, a most faithful and respected servant of the family.

Her burial record indicates the Cretia (which was short for Lucretia) died of congestion of the lungs at the age of fifty-seven, meaning she would have started her service to the Boyd family while still a child.  Records such as the 1800 census show that members of the Boyd family owned slaves and she may have been the daughter of one of these slaves.  She was born during New York's gradual emancipation;  the law at the time of her birth granted freedom to children born after 1799, but they were to serve an indenture until they came of age.  This would explain why she would have served the family from the young age of seven.

She appears in the 1850 census as "mulatto."  Her name doesn't appear in previous census years. 

Cretia is one of several servants interred in the plots of the families which they worked for, ranging from a faithful slave of the Quackenbush family to the Swiss-born butler of the Barnes family.

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